I had the pleasure of meeting Kari Allen at ALAAC and loved how she signed my copy of this delightful children’s book with the wonderful message “Share your stories!”
But could you expect less from the writer of this affirming series about a pair of loving, if not entirely friction-free, young sisters? Maddie is the older sister and bossy. Mabel is the younger sister and needy. Ordinarily, this is a pairing that works out quite well, but even the most accommodating siblings can find the foibles of their family too much to bear from time to time, as shown in the five short chapters of this book. The sisters play together, get mad at each other, learn how to apologize and forgive each other, and ultimately show how kids can manage their feelings, compromise and care for each other while still standing up for themselves. It’s a valuable, necessary lesson, couched here in easy language for even small kids to at least understand if not read by themselves.
My youngest kids actually had a little bit of trouble reading this. They’re rising third graders but developmentally delayed, and had trouble differentiating between the ds and bs of the protagonists’ names. Otherwise, they had a blast with it, with Joseph really liking Mabel — or Mabble, as he insisted on calling her — because of her love of rabbits (never mind that Maddie likes rabbits, too.) My eldest son gravitated towards Maddie, ofc, as they’re both on the bossy side.
But all my children really appreciated Tatjana Mai-Wyss’ lovely art throughout. Maddie and Mabel are adorable as they go through their days, playing and imagining and telling stories, both indoors and out. The art does almost as much work as the words do in telling the sisters’ tale. I particularly enjoyed the chapter titled Rabbit, tho my kids probably learned the most from The Fight.
I’m glad I could get my boys to read a book populated entirely by little girls, with nary a word of complaint from them beyond the usual resistance to reading. Maddie And Mabel is a delightful book for early/advancing readers, with a great message for siblings of all ages.
Maddie And Mabel by Kari Allen & Tatjana Mai-Wyss was published March 22 2022 by Kind World Publishing and is available from all good booksellers, including